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Haiku Japanese Art & Poetry Calendar
Haiku Japanese Art & Poetry Calendar

Rumi Calendar
Rumi Calendar

Magnetic Poetry Calendar
Magnetic Poetry Calendar

Nobel Writers
on Writing

An Old Favorite!
Authors Card Game


Poetry Matters
Poetry Matters:
Writing a Poem
from the Inside Out

100 Best Loved Poems
100 Best
Loved Poems

Poetry Speaks
Poetry Speaks:
Hear Great Poets
Read Their Work- from Tenneyson to Plath
Book & 3 CDs

Practice of Poetry
The Practice of Poetry:
Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach

Fom Totems to Hip-Hop
From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900-2002

Poet and Writers Magazine
Poets & Writers Magazine

Wham! It's a Poetry Jam
Wham! It's a Poetry Jam: Discovering Performance Poetry

Teachin 10 Fabulous Forms of Poetry
Teaching 10 Fabulous Forms of Poetry
(Grades 4-8)

In the Palm of Your Hand
In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop

Teacher's Best - The Creative Process

Poetry Terms & Forms Educational Posters
for the language arts classroom and home schoolers.

literature posters > POETRY TERMS & FORMS POSTERS < poetry quotes

Poetess, Art Print
Art Print

Poetry is the art form using languate to evoke meaning beyond the literal words. Poetry has ancient roots - the Vedas (1800–1500 BC, India) and the Odyssey (700–500 BC, Greece) - were composed in repetition and rhyme, poetic forms that lend themselves to memorization and oral transmission in preliterate cultures.

Dead Poets Society, Poster
Dead Poets Society,
Movie Poster

The English word ‘poetry’ is from the Greek poiesis, meaning “making” or “creating”. A poem is a discrete piece of work, though poetry occurs in drama such as Shakespeare's work, or as lyrics in songs.

blank verse
free verse



Poetry Quotes

Poetry Forms Terms poster
Poetry Terms

Poetry Terms

Alliteration: When two or more neighboring syllables start with the same beginning sound. Example: “The poet picks palate- pleasing peaches.”

Assonance: When the same vowel sound is repeated in a section of a poem. Example: “Brown cows sound loud in a rowdy crowd.”

Internal rhyme: Any rhyme that occurs inside a line rather than at the end of the line.

Meter: When you analyze a poem's rhythm, you are looking at its meter. Meter is measured in basic unites called “feet,” which are the patterns of accented and unaccented syllables. Below are some terms associated with different sorts of meter:

Iamb: Foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. Example: biZARRE, guiTAR, KaREEM AbDUL-JabBAR.

Tochee: Foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one. Example: HAPpy, SNAPpy, HERE comes PAPpy.

Anapest: Foot consisting of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one. Example: run aWAY when the MAN with the HOOK says HelLO.

Dactyl: Foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed ones. Example: ALL of a SUDden the WORMS were emBARassed.

Rhyme scheme: The rhyming pattern of the lines of a poem. Rhyming lines are marked with letters of the alphabet: if two lines rhyme with each other and then the next three rhyme with each other, the passage has an aabbb rhyme scheme.

Stanza: A section of lines grouped together; also called a verse.

Poetry Forms - Ballad Poster
Poetry Forms -
Ballad Poster

Poetry Forms - Ballads

Any poem that tells a story in short stanzas is called a ballad. In the days before books and recordings, musicians went from town to town singing their ballads to people, who then repeated them and handed them down to future generations.
Ballads are found in virtually every language and culture. One of the most famous ballads in the world is the American song “John Henry,” the story of a “steel-drivin' man” who sets out to prove that he is more powerful than a machine. ...

Ballad Poetry Form Poster
Poetry Form Poster

Ballad of Reading Gaol

In Reading gaol by Reading town
There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
And so he had to die.

And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Oscar Wilde

Blank Verse, Poetry Forms poster
Blank Verse,
Poetry Forms poster

Poetry Forms -
Blank Verse Poster

When English poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, (1517-1547) first invented blank verse, he had no way of knowing how it would catch on. But soon every English poet owed him a huge debt. John Milton used blank verse in Paradise Lost, William Shakespeare used it in his plays, and many others over the last 500 years have found it useful as well.

Blank verse does not rhyme, but instead establishes its mood through its regular rhythm, which is called iambic pentameter: ten syllables per line, alternating unstressed and stressed syllables. This unrhymed iambic pettern fits so well with the English language that it is still used by poets who want to bring weight and flow to their words. ...

Blank Verse Poetry Form Poster
Blank Verse
Poetry Form Poster


So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

William Cullen Bryant (Fireside Poets)

Poetry Forms - Cinquain Poster
Poetry Forms -
Cinquain Poster

Poetry Forms -
Cinquain Poster

Inspired by reading Japanese haiku, early 20th-century poet Adelaide Crapsey invented the cinquain as an American counterpart to this form. Cinquains have five lines (“cinq”is the French word for “five”) and are based on counting the number of syllables in each line...

TRIAD - Adelaide Crapsey
These be
Three silent things:
The falling snow...the hour
Before the dawn...the mouth of one
Just dead.

Epic Poetry Form Poster

Poetry Forms -
Epic Poster

Like the ballad, the epic poem tells a story in verse. But unlike the short and songlike ballad, epics are large, expansive, and meant to be chanted and told rather than sung.

All ancient civilizations have their epics: in India, it's the Mahabarata, in Greece, the Aeneid, the Odyssey, and the Iliad, in Babylon, it's Gilgamesh; among the Nyanga people of Zaire, it's the Mwindo. These long poems are imaginative works that served as cultural history, mythology, and moral lessons to those who heard and repeated them over the centuries. ...

Here is a selection from the Popol Vuh, the epic of the Mayan people. In this passage, a mythic character named Seven Macaw brags about his importance:

I am Great!
I am placed now over the people of masonry, the people of pottery.
I am their sun, /and I am their light, / and I am their moon, until those things come to be.

Great is my light! / I am the path, / and I am the trail for the people.
Of silver are my eyes, / they just sparkel with jewelry of bluegreen jade.
And also my teeth gape bluegreen with stones,/ like the face of the sky.
So, too, my nose is scorched-white from afar, / like the moon.
And my throne is silver,/ it lights up the face of the earth. ...

Epic Poetry Form Poster
Poetry Form Poster

Inferno Canto XXXIV

“The banners of Hell’s Monarch do come forth
Toward us; therefore look,” so spake my guide,
“If thou discern him.” As, when breathes a cloud
Heavy and dense, or when the shades of night
Fall on our hemisphere, seems view’d from far
A windmill, which the blast stirs briskly round;
Such was the fabric then methought I saw.
To shield me from the wind, forthwith I drew
Behind my guide: no covert else was there.

Dante Alighieri

Free Verse Poetry Form Poster
Free Verse
Poetry Form Poster

Free Verse

After the Sea-Ship

After the Sea-Ship — after the whistling winds;
After the white-gray sails, taut to their spars and ropes,
Below, a myriad, myriad waves, hastening, lifting up their necks,
Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship:
Waves of the ocean, bubbling and gurgling, blithely prying,
Waves, undulating waves — liquid, uneven, emulous waves,
Toward that whirling current, laughing and buoyant, with curves,
Where the great Vessel, sailing and tacking, displaced the surface;
Larger and smaller waves, in the spread of the ocean, yearnfully flowing;
The wake of the Sea-Ship, after she passes — flashing and frolicsome, under the sun,
A motley procession, with many a fleck of foam, and many fragments,
Following the stately and rapid Ship — in the wake following.

Walt Whitman

Poetry Forms - Haiku Poster
Poetry Forms -
Haiku Poster

Poetry Forms -
Haiku Poster

Invented hundreds of years ago in Japan, the haiku is one of the most famous poetic forms in the world. Traditional Japanese haiku contains seventeen onji, or syllables. Some haiku poets writing in other languages use fewer or more syllables, but most stick with seventeen.
A haiku must also contain a kigo, a word or phrase associated with a particular season: for example, frogs are always associated with spring. A seventeen-syllable poem without a kigo is called a senryu. Senryu are usually used as social commentary or for humorous effect. ...

old pond.....
a frog leaps in
water's sound
-- Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694)

Richard Wright posters

Poetry Forms -
Limerick Poster (no longer available)

It's all about the jokes! The limerick is the best known form of humorous poetry. Its rollicking rhythm and aabba rhyme scheme simply cannot be taken seriously... The first well-known master of the limerick was English nonsense poet Edward Lear. He wrote more than 200 little pieces on characters like the Young Lady of Hull and the Old Man of Melrose... And here's a fun and confusing fact: limericks get their name from the town and country of Limerick, Ireland...but no one really knows why.

Limerick Poetry Form Poster
Poetry Form Poster

A Book of Nonsense

There was a Young Lady whose chin,
Resembled the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp, and purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.

Edward Lear

Lyric Poetry Form
Lyric Poetry Form

Lyric Poetry Form


I heard a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.

The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnessed in his power.

I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portion of me I
Could make assignable,-and then
There interposed a fly,

With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the light and me;
And then the windows failed, and then
I could not see to see.

Emily Dickinson

Lyric Poetry Form
Narrative Poetry Form

Narrative Poetry Form

The Raven

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry Forms -
Ode Poster (no longer available)

The ode is one of the oldest and most noble forms of poetry. There are several different ways to write odes, but every one is written in praise of something or someone. Some odes celebrate great deeds, while others honor great people or concepts like Immortality or Evening.
The ode was developed by the ancient Greek writer Pindar (522?-443 B.C.E.), the greatest lyric poet of his day. His odes were written so they could be chanted and sung by a chorus when victorious athletes and warrior returned to their home city.

Ode Poetry Form Poster
Poetry Form Poster

Ode to a Grecian Urn

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,— that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

John Keats

Rap, Poetry Forms posters
Poetry Forms -
Rap Poster

Poetry Forms -
Rap Poster

Far from being a recent phenomenon, rap poetry has roots going all the way back to the West African griots, or storytellers, and the improvised ballads of the Caribbean. In its current form, rap is often set to funk or rock beats to form a style of music called “hip-hop.”
Rapping is much more than just rhythmic talking, the way it is often stereotyped. Hip-hop artists are quite sophisticated in the way they use internal and external rhyme, new and interesting meters, and alliteration. And the best rap music can teach important lessons at the same time that it makes people dance...

Sonnet Poetry Form Poster

Poetry Forms -
Sonnet Poster

One of the most beautiful and celebrated forms of poetry, each sonnet follow three basic rules:

1. It must be a rhyming poem.
2. It must contain exactly fourteen lines.
3. Every line must be in iambic pentameter.

Sonnets can cover any topic and assume any tone; they can be beautiful, humorous, romantic, angry, or intense. ...

Henry Howard portrait
Thomas Wyatt portrait
William Shakespeare posters

Sonnet Poetry Form Poster
Poetry Form Poster

How Do I Love Thee? (XLIII)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, – I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Poetry Forms - Villanelle PosterPoetry Forms -
Villanelle Poster

One of the most elegant and intricate forms of poetry, the villanelle, was born in 15th-century Italy and perfected in France.
Villanelles consist of nineteen lines in six stanzas. The first five stanzas have three lines in an aba rhyme scheme, and the final stanza contains four lines, which rhyme in an abaa pattern. This regular rhyme scheme helps the villanelle seem gentle and thoughtful.
What makes the villanelle truly special however, is its repetition. The poem's first and third lines are alternated throughout the poem at the end of every verse. This structure makes villanelles very difficult to write, so few poets attempt them and even fewer succeed.
The most famous villanelle in English is “Do not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas. This villanelle is one of the best-loved poems in the world. ...

Francois Villon Portrait Print

Villanelle Poetry Form Poster
Poetry Form Poster

The House on the Hill

They are all gone away,
The house is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one today
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away.

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Edward Arlington Robinson

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last updated 2/3/14